Dr D and I talked about how I’m affected by what happened to me. I really just want to curl up and block everything out, I told him. He’s concerned.

I feel a lot of fear. I also feel as if there’s a lot of pressure to be supportive of other survivors. It feels as if it’s expected. I’m older. I’ve been through a lot of therapy. There are things I could offer her that might help her get through her situation. I feel guilty for not offering an ear, like I’m letting down a survivor. Dr D reminded me that I’m not the only source of encouragement or experience and it’s not wrong to care for myself when necessary. Right now it feels like offering an ear to her would come at a cost I can’t afford to pay.

Dr D suggested that I try to compartmentalize my assault back in August. Through visualization I’ll put it in a box and bury it someplace safe. When I need to deal with it I’ll do visualization to get it out and then do the same process and return it to a safe place. This way it’s not affecting my every thought and my health.

Dr D said that if thoughts become intrusive I can gently push them away and remind myself that I will deal with it in therapy. I asked if putting it away like this is the same as saying that I’m not hurt by it and it wasn’t that big of a deal, all is forgiven? He said absolutely not. One thing has nothing to do with the other. I hope not because I’m angry! I will not forgive and I am emotionally hurt by it. But I certainly can’t continue as I’m going.

I’ll talk to my therapist next Monday as planned.


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One thought on “Therapy Review: Compartmentalizing Trauma

  1. Dr D is wise and I agree with him about the various things you mentioned in this post.

    I also really understand feeling responsible to help younger ones or people earlier in their recovery and at the same time, I have little to give right now or very inconsistent giving, which then makes me not want to open that up at all. If I’m going to help, I want to be there consistently and be that resource, but alas, I’m not there yet.

    It is also hard for me because I remember the many survivors who helped me out along the way when I was a ‘youngen’ both literally and figuratively in the survivor healing journey.

    Our hurt ones really struggle with the visualizing and containment and have similar issues and stuff you mentioned here as well as other issues with it. The only suggestion I can give is to first acknowledge to yourself and insiders that the intrusive thoughts or the emotional pain is happening in the moment and that it is real. After acknowledging the trauma happened, the pain and issues exist, then you can work on practicing the skill of containment and visualizing (if that helps you). It sort of gives you the control of when your brain and heart will open it up. Obviously PTSD doesn’t work that nice and neatly, but I think it can help with the intensity of the memories and feelings and everything else this recent trauma has created and old traumas stirred up.

    Also, containment and visualizing gets to be personalized. Maybe you want to put it on a planet that only you have access to and it stays up in the sky. Maybe you want it in a house by a river and nature that you open the door to and recall and work on the trauma. So many options for creative things that helps your system to feel comfortable knowing that the trauma and pain happened, it still exists, and is waiting to be healed and processed at a safer and more supportive time when you are prepared for facing it.

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